Mental health expert warns of heightened anxiety ahead of 5-year remembrance for Pulse shooting

Orlando commissioner is pushing for more money to be allocated for mental health resources

ORLANDO, Fla. – On the eve of the five-year mark since the Pulse shooting, mental health experts are warning some people may be experiencing anxiety and stress.

Stephanie Preston-Hughes is a licensed mental health counselor for Orange Counseling. She said even though several years have gone by, someone’s grief may still feel overwhelming.

“People are finding themselves to impacted emotionally in ways they didn’t quite expect. I thought I was over the worst of it.”

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Preston-Hughes also said someone could suffer from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, despite not being at the club that night.

“What I say is that a trauma response from our body is an ordinary response to an extraordinary situation.”

Micheal Mueller attended a memorial Friday evening at Colonial Square Park. Mueller said emotions can feel elevated during this time.

“I don’t know that’s there’s a word in the dictionary that could describe it in any language, frankly,” Mueller said.

Orlando city commissioner Patty Sheehan said more money needs to be allocated to provide mental health resources for survivors.

“Those young people saw things that men who go to war don’t see. I know how traumatized they were. I didn’t see half the things they saw. It was awful and we need to continue to take care of them,” Sheehan said.

Rep. Anna Eskamani said with events taking place around town this week, it is important for people to take time for themselves.

“To be around others that are also in the process of grieving and reflection and it’s comforting because moments like this, everyone grieves in a different way and sometimes you want to be alone, but other times you want to be around others in the same place as you,” Eskamani said.

About the Author:

Troy graduated from California State University Northridge with a Bachelor's Degree in Communication. He has reported on Mexican drug cartel violence on the El Paso/ Juarez border, nuclear testing facilities at the Idaho National Laboratory and severe Winter weather in Michigan.